A Houston mayor has pushed back against the opening of a “robot brothel” in the city, where punters could pay $60 for sex with a life-like doll.
Mayor Sylvester Turner said the brothel is “not the sort of business” people wanted in the city, after the plans sparked an outcry among residents and community groups.
The “love dolls brothel” is the brainchild of Yuval Gavriel, the owner of Canada-based KinkySdollS.
Gavriel already runs one brothel in Toronto, which allows customers to “try before you buy”. The dolls, which are made from silicon and heat up, are priced between $2,000 and $5,000.
Preferring to use the term “warehouse” instead of brothel, Gavriel told the Washington Examiner that he aims to set up 10 other outlets across the US by 2020.
Gavriel told the newspaper that he runs a “showroom” that allows people to rent dolls, test them on the premises, and decide whether to buy one.
“It’s not the sort of business that we advertise for, or we seek to attract,” Mayor Turner said. “Or quite frankly, from my point of view, the sort of business that I want in the city of Houston.”
The mayor vowed to investigate the town’s ordinances to ensure public health and safety was protected.
“I’m not trying to be the moral police, but I am charged with the health and safety of the people in our city,” Mr Turner said.
“And I do want to make sure that an ordinance that came into existence in the 1990s is applicable to things that are taking place today.”
A change.org petition started by Elijah Rising, a local anti-sex trafficking charity, has garnered 9,000 signatures.
The charity said the brothels would “create an expansion of the already dehumanised act of sex buying”.
Sex dolls also operate in European countries such as France and Germany.